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Presentation Skills for Emerging Managers

The importance of presentation skill is aptly summarized in Lee Iacocca’s quote: “You can have brilliant ideas, but, if you can’t get them across, your ides will not get you anywhere”. The objective of a presentation is to get the content right through the audience. Presentation skills can be systematically developed by observing a few simple rules.

Rule 1: Know well the topic of presentation

Once the topic of the presentation is identified, research deeply. Identify the key points that supplement the main theme. Gather the facts that you plan to present as example and double check the validity. The opening remark should give a clear picture of the topic. It should convince them the topic is interesting and is helpful in providing a solution or improving their area of work. The presentation, if needed, should provide room for questions and arguments. It should be well balanced. Case studies, examples, related statistics, and other material which can draw interest and supports the main objective must be added. The better and deeper you are able to research, the more watertight your presentation appears. When cornered, it is best to accept that one is wrong, or defer the argument and say that it would be best taken offline.

Rule 2: Know your audience

The presentation should be drafted taking into consideration the type of audience, their needs and facilities available to them. Typically, a human mind is inquisitive by nature. Thus, there will be a lot of ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ going on in your listener’s mind. Pre-empt their questions by thinking from your listener’s shoes and presenting the answers upfront as points. A presenter who speaks and presents with conviction is an impressive presenter, and to whom people like to listen. Keep a close watch on the body movements of the audience. Cut short the topic or try to improve once they start to fret. Speak to the audience not to individuals; at the same time appear as if you are speaking to each in the audience individually. This is a technique that has been perfected by the Cisco CEO John Chambers. Chambers makes every person in the audience feel as if he is having a one-on-one conversation with her.

Rule 3: Keep in mind the time at hand

Time management is absolutely critical for a good presenter. The presenter should have an idea of how much time she plans to spend on each slide. Thus, the right amount of emphasis should be given to the salient points in the presentation. A presenter should work backwards from the time at hand and decide on which points she should dwell more.

Rule 4: Presentation should have a flow

The presenter should desist from rambling during the course of the presentation. The essence of topic should be conveyed crisply and succinctly, and the content in a precise and direct manner. Any irrelevant content must be eliminated, one of the best ways to do this is to go over the presentation a number of times and trim down on what appears to be monotonous. Start the presentation with an agenda and follow the agenda.

Rule 5: Plan for contingency

Planning for contingencies can avoid confusions. Supplementary data must be kept at our fingertips by memorizing or jotting them down for quick reference. One should avoid getting into arguments; and definitely desist from getting into an emotional or a vociferous debate. Deferment of controversial topics and when things tend to go worse, defuse the situation by saying that one would like to take the argument offline is an effective way out of trouble.

Rule 6: Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Rehearse the presentation well in advance to have a thorough knowledge of the contents and to make about necessary changes so as to make it attractive. Go with a positive attitude, use voice modulate as appropriate. Pause and stress on the key points to have the desired effect. Be confident, and keep a relaxed posture, or else the audience gets distracted very soon.

Once the presentation is over, make a self evaluation so as to improve the next one. The aim of presentation could be to inform, prove or persuade the audience. A well defined and organised presentation put forward confidently taking into consideration the above rules can achieve its final purpose.

Comments Listing
Posted: 12/01/2014 23:23:14

This is really useful information, to be in position to persuade, convince or let others understand what you are telling them you must be conversant with what you are presenting

Posted: 15/07/2011 04:47:29

I can't believe I've been going for years wituoht knowing that.

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